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Overview: Design ethnography: how to plan, execute and analyse a site visit

Field studies are invaluable when you need to understand first-hand how users work or behave, the kinds of tasks users carry out and the variety of environments in which users operate. Real-world observation provides insights that user self reports or surveys canít provide ó often because users canít explain what they are doing or because their behaviour is so practised that users canít articulate how they work.

But carrying out a field study has a number of difficulties. How do you select the right users? When should you observe and when should you ask questions? How do you collect observational data and how do you analyse it to improve your design?

"An excellent course, thoroughly enjoyable. The data analysing method was particularly interesting."
– Philip Merrifield, ITW Finishing.

Printable pdf course description for this seminar

Suggested business case to convince your boss (MS Word format).

About your trainer

David Travis

This seminar is led by Dr. David Travis, the author of E-Commerce Usability. David has more than 20 years experience in the field of user centred design and has delivered over 100 seminars in usability for a range of private and public sector organisations. He has carried out field visits for a range of clients, including Orange, Yahoo! and RBS.

This seminar is aimed at

This course is for you if you are part of a design team that wants to develop a new service, software application or product or that wants to identify new features for an existing application. This is a hands-on course and is most effective for delegates who have day-to-day responsibility for product design.

You will learn how to

  • Understand the fundamentals of field research.
  • Understand the difference between opinion-based and behavior-based research methods.
  • Describe the kinds of data you should collect during a field visit.
  • Describe the user groups for your service.
  • Identify the specific user type you will visit first.
  • Build a research plan to take back to your workplace and execute.
  • Recognise good and poor questions to ask in user interviews.
  • Practice field study interviewing.
  • Analyse and interpret qualitative data.

Seminar content

Introduction: Why carry out ethnographic research?

  • Why you need to discover (not just validate) user needs.
  • The first (and second) rule of finding out what people want.
  • Differences between ethnographic research and usability testing.
  • The 6 phases of field research.

Set the research focus

  • Understanding the vision.
  • Identifying sources of existing research and judging its quality.
  • Syndicate activity: Create a sketch persona to identify assumptions.

Decide who to visit

  • How many people do you need?
  • Briefing the recruitment agency.

Schedule the visits

  • What to tell participants before you arrive.
  • Plan how you will get the team involved.

Carry out the field visits

  • Obtaining informed consent.
  • The Zen of user interviewing.
  • Syndicate activity: Create a topic map to steer the interview.
  • The role of investigator and note taker.
  • What is an observation?
  • Syndicate activity: Practice eliciting a story.

Analyse the data

  • Introduction to affinity sorting.
  • Syndicate activity: Create a user story map.

Generate design ideas

  • Creating a storyboard.
  • Questions to ask about an MVP.

Summary and Wrap-Up

  • Brief review of the key topics.
  • Final opportunity for questions.

What delegates say about this seminar

  • "Having a proper process for planning and implementing a field study (rather than an ad hoc turn-up-and-ask-questions approach) means I can present a more professional image."
  • "I learnt the importance of observation and good questioning — and accurately recording what is said and done."
  • "I now feel confident preparing for a site visit and asking the right kinds of questions."

What do I get when I book this course?

  • 1 day training course with a usability expert.
  • Practical checklists, worksheets and extensive notes to take home.
  • A proper, air-conditioned learning environment.
  • Lunch and refreshments throughout the day.

More details on what you get.

Duration

This course lasts one day.


UX immersion training

UX design training

UX research training


Upcoming courses

We run regular training courses in usability and user experience.

What should I do next?

If you're interested in attending this course, try these links.

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